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Mental Health Services in Rural Areas

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In my region, some of the rural school districts are providing space for satellite mental health clinics.  Students may make an appointment during the school day, or walk-in.  

At school, any student may walk out of class at any time, no questions asked, and see the psych, the social worker, the nurse, or a guidance counselor.  Or an AP.

Things are changing.

Edited by HeighHo
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I live in an extremely rural area.  No doctor - none of any sort - for over 100 miles.  Mental health services are even further away, approximately a 4 hour drive one direction. Incidentally, I also live in a high suicide rate area, too. I've known several just in the few years I've lived here. 

Edited by Kinsa
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The barriers to getting well are nearly insurmountable almost everywhere. It was no small thing to get help for my daughter in her location, which was a city of millions known for ultra-progressive politics.

Worse, of course, in rural areas, where you take what you can get as far as health care. One of our health care options in our medium-sized city, is the local facility for Native American health care, run by the Native corporation. People have to travel by air from the many villages off the road system to get to the facility, which has beautiful buildings filled with artwork and just completed a multi-story wing dedicated solely to dentistry, and there are many other specialties covered. It's wonderful, but what they don't have is a facility dedicated to inpatient care for mental health or substance abuse issues, one of, if not THE, top health problems for the population in the state. Our daughter was taken to the ER at that facility after her overdose (again, where we have received excellent care through the years), and was left to lie there on a gurney all night, attached to a monitor, but otherwise without being checked by staff, while they "waited for a court order." I was there with her, watching her sleep, and finally insisted that a physician come and look at her at 7 AM, twelve hours after arrival. At that point she was non-responsive and lying in urine-soaked bedding. She was immediately placed on a ventilator and taken to the ICU.

When she was stable, in a couple days, there were no options at this facility. Luckily for us, we had (still limited, but still) choices because of my husband's military insurance. Our local homeless population is massive, impacted hugely by mental illness and substance abuse, and primarily made up of people whose healthcare is linked to this facility. If people were wandering around with any other sort of disease in a city there would be a huge public health movement to conquer the problem. People tend to throw up their hands at mental illness. I get it; it's extremely complicated, and for my severely mentally ill mother we never found an answer. But the public embarrassed disinterest, in spite of the scope of the problem, is shocking.

My younger daughter's 14 year old friend attempted suicide last week. Another middle-school aged friend has been in and out of the ER with mental health issues for months now. People ask for my advice, but I have no tried and true methods to offer them. They need help that is just not there.

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So tragic. In the meantime, it would be great if psych professionals in other parts of the country could open up facetime appts or equivalent. Whatever infrastructure does exist, churches, libraries, school buildings could hold evening groups that are overseen by a professional on-line and an assistant locally. Just getting people together and talking would be helpful for some.

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I was hospitalized earlier this month for mental,health reasons and to be monitored during a medication change. I am in a suburb of one of the largest cities in US. I was in the local ER for half a day, then transported an hour away to the nearest facility. 

A good freind’s daughter attempted suicide in a large socially progressive city almost two years ago. It took them forever to find a facility for a teen, and then it was over an hour away. 

I cannot even imagine what it is like in rural areas when options are so awful in large cities!  

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Yep, imental health care sucks here too.

i have an awful story so a big WARNING 

 

A year or two ago, a young adult in our town tried to hang himself from a basketball goal. A teenage neighbor saw and cut him down before he succeeded. He of course was taken to the hospital. The local ER dr refused to put him on a psyc hold as he did not see any marks from the attempted hanging and did not feel that he was a danger to himself.  The teenager who went with the guy to hospital told the Dr that the next time he would have to let him hang a bit longer to make sure it left marks, the doctor was not amused, but ....

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7 minutes ago, City Mouse said:

Yep, imental health care sucks here too.

i have an awful story so a big WARNING 

 

A year or two ago, a young adult in our town tried to hang himself from a basketball goal. A teenage neighbor saw and cut him down before he succeeded. He of course was taken to the hospital. The local ER dr refused to put him on a psyc hold as he did not see any marks from the attempted hanging and did not feel that he was a danger to himself.  The teenager who went with the guy to hospital told the Dr that the next time he would have to let him hang a bit longer to make sure it left marks, the doctor was not amused, but ....

 

That doctor needs to be reported to a licencing board.

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It is awful here too.  I tried for 8 months to get our daughter help and got nowhere. When I told her primary no one would take her, she tried to find her help too to no avail.  It took an actual suicide attempt to finally get her help.  Apparently, then they can help but not before.  It makes no kind of sense.

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I grew up in a remote area. There was ONE licensed clinician, so good luck if she wasn't a good fit for you. It was a somewhat one-industry town, and there was no employer-supplied help there either. The high school had just guidance counsellors. It still saddens me to think about how many suicide attempts there were, some successful. A good friend of mine did when he didn't get into an Ivy League school like his parents wanted. My dad's boss did.

Medical care is just as bad. When my aunt had her knee replaced, she had to go to a rehab hospital because there is no home health there.

Where I live now, there are a wide range of mental health professionals and five hospitals with behavioral health units attached to them. There's a shortage of psychiatrists and clinicians for teens, it is much better in comparison.

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